In our last post, we wrote about the importance of making the upgrade from old two-prong outlets in (ungrounded outlets) to three-prong outlets in your home. We also offered suggestions about the best types of outlets to have installed to improve safety.
Today, we’re looking at a specific reason for improving the outlets in your house—to make your house safer for young children. Standard open outlets can present serious hazards to children who may attempt to place objects or their fingers into the slots, and they can also create fire dangers. Most outlets are at ground level, making them easy for children to access. If you have infants and toddlers in your home, or you have a child on the way, we recommend you work with electricians in Livingston, NJ to have the safest types of outlets installed.
Below are some of safety options available.
This is the simplest method to child-proof outlets: plastic covers that insert into the outlet to block them. These covers aren’t the best solution, especially if there are other benefits to upgrading your outlets. These covers are inconvenient, easy to lose, and toddler can often learn how to pry them off.
Tamper-Resistant Receptacles (TRR)
This is one of the easier upgrades to make to your current outlets. A tamper-resistant receptacles outlet resembles a standard three-prong outlet. However, the outlet opening have shutters over them that prevent anything from being inserted in them, unless equal pressure is applied to all three outlets at the same time. I.e. with a plug. TRR outlets can be combined with AFCI and GFCI technology for extra protection.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
We looked at these outlets in the last post. They’re highly recommended for installation in the bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms of all homes, not just ones with infants and children. GFCI outlets monitor the flow of electricity from the hot side of the outlet to the neutral side. If there is an imbalance—meaning the electricity is flowing into the ground, probably through a person—the outlet immediately trips a fuse and stop the voltage flow to prevent electrocution.
You may have already seen these types of outlets on power strips. The fronts of these outlets automatically rotate by 45° when there’s no plug in them, blocking the actual slots. To put in a plug, the prongs must first be inserted and then used to rotate the outside cover until it aligns with the slots. As with tamper-resistant receptacles, the cover prevents children from putting their fingers or small objects into the slots.
Combination Switch Outlet
Some outlets can have the electricity shut off to them by a nearby light switch. Essentially, the switch is the circuit breaker for the outlet. There are outlets that have the switch already built into them, which is convenient for shutting off power to specific outlets when they are not in use.
Whatever type of outlet you’re looking for, make sure you only work with a licensed electrician. Our electricians will see you have the best and safest possible upgrades.
Anderson Electric Corp. is your trusted electrician in Northern New Jersey. Call for a free estimate.